COSATU notes with disappointment the latest unemployment figures

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) notes with disappointment the latest unemployment figures showing a slight uptick in the unemployment rate.  Whilst this is not unusual for the 1st quarter of the year which normally follows a seasonal increase in jobs over the festive holidays and retail peak period during the 4th quarter of the year, it is nonetheless disappointing.

Though we are frustrated by an increase in unemployment, we appreciate that this is not surprising given the challenges at Transnet that the mining, manufacturing and agricultural experienced during the first half of the 1st quarter and the 4th quarter in particular. 

We are heartened by indications in the jobs report that the mining, manufacturing and agricultural sectors are showing signs of recovering from the challenges they encountered in transporting their exports.

The report is a sobering reminder that we cannot sustain the current levels of unemployment and that whilst we are seeing critical progress on many fronts, from the massive decrease in loadshedding, to the reduction in congestion at our ports, the reopening of various freight and commuter rail lines, the increase in revenues collected by SARS and significant investment injections by such international giants as VW and Hisense; much more remains to be done to unlock the economy and slash unemployment.

The African National Congress’ elections manifesto correctly places a mass investment programme in the economy’s industrialisation, local procurement and job creation programmes.  Whilst this is rolled out it is critical that not only are these important interventions in the economy, amongst others, are expedited, but similarly we accelerate measures to provide relief to the unemployed through the SRD Grant, to assist young people to enter the labour market through the Presidential Employment Stimulus and other programmes, as well as the implementation of the Two Pot Pension Reforms on 1 September providing relief to millions of indebted workers.

Unemployment is the heart of our socio-economic challenges.  It must be at the heart of government and the private sector’s plans.  Businesses in particular must halt retrenchments and engage with Labour on alternatives.  What we cannot afford to do is send more workers to the unemployment queue.  Unemployment needs to be tackled with the same sense of collective urgency and determination as we successfully tackled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator 
Cell: 082 785 0687